September for many often feels like a new beginning, perhaps its something to do with the ‘back to school’ start of college or University feeling that so many of us have had, or experience with our children or grandchildren. However, this autumn sees many of our returning school students focusing on something other than studying.
Millions of young people across the world are preparing for a global mass strike for the climate calling on all of us to support them and holding world leaders, CEOs, lawyers, bankers, teachers and trade unionists alike to account. Led by the extraordinary Greta Thunberg, the Youth Climate Strike movement, and Fridays for the Future, have issued us a challenge – join them, stand up and be counted. These engaged passionate and angry young people have been awakened by the realisation that time is really running out.
Personally, I would call on everyone to take to the streets and join this strike with a purpose and to help to force change globally and for the benefit of all humanity. There are still some who deny the impact of global heating but the evidence this summer, with forest fires across Europe, the funeral for Okjökull Iceland’s first glacier lost to climate change, and extremes of weather here at home prove, if proof were needed, that it is real and here to stay.
Totemic figures like Greta Thunberg and Chris Packham draw attention to this issue and are calling on us to listen to them and look to the evidence. However, we shouldn’t just rely on them to urge us to take action when hundreds of scientists have given us the evidence that the time to act is now.
So, what can you do? The first obvious thing is to join the Climate Strike on 20th September. However, if you do not wish to or cannot join the strike here are some other ways you that can show your support:
· Use the Climate Strike Week 20-27th September to raise the issue within your workplace or community, hold an event or help support an environment charity.
· Join the mass petitions calling for Local Authorities to declare meaningful Climate Emergencies and then take action and put in place policies to implement that – from recycling to Clean Air Zones.
· Join your local XR group who are working with local authorities on how to implement Climate Emergency policies
· Encourage the organisation you work for to commit to being Carbon Neutral – starting with a commitment to buying green energy
· Introduce more plant-based meals into your diet and reduce your consumption of mass produced meat – eat local, eat sustainably.
· Ban plastic of all kinds from the office
· Car share, walk to work, take public transport wherever you can
These are all small steps that individually make only a small difference but if Greta and her fellow students have taught us anything it is that small steps taken together can create a global impact.
No more excuses, summer is over and it is Time to Act.